Andy Foster's favourite saying when asked about local body elections is that they're either next year, last year, or this year.
Unfortunately for the incumbent, his tumultuous term in the city's top job has resulted in people speculating about who might run for the mayoralty well in advance of the 2022 local body elections.
The biggest source of speculation has been centred around Labour Rongotai MP and former deputy mayor Paul Eagle. Whether he will have a crack at the mayoralty remains to be seen and will unlikely become clear until next year.
But a less well-known candidate has decided to kick off the race this side of Christmas.
Last week former Green Party chief of staff Tory Whanau announced she would be running for the mayoralty.
It really was Wellington's worst keep secret, which was even acknowledged by the MC at Whanau's event to much laughter from those in attendance.
One of Eagle's key strengths is name recognition and while those in the Wellington beltway know Whanau's name, the majority of voters will not.
Announcing early not only gives people time to get to know Whanau, it also gives her the advantage of being the only contender for a while.
This is similar to what happened in 2019 when blogger Conor Hill announced he would be running against incumbent Justin Lester.
Although he did this in July, very much as the campaign period was heating up, he still enjoyed far more media attention than he probably otherwise would have got had he not been the first candidate to announce he was running against Lester.
Hill certainly made the most of the airtime that came with filling a competition vacuum.
But he only ended up with 4796 votes after being excluded at the fifth iteration under the STV voting system.
Whanau has far more political experience than Hill, but behind the scenes of politics rather than as a politician herself.
She has sat around the table with senior ministers and the Prime Minister.
Whanau is pitching her experience negotiating with Labour and New Zealand First as an important skillset to bring to the council table.
It's a good pitch too. Foster has shown little ability to build consensus with his colleagues often finding himself in the minority rather than the majority.
While Whanau is running as an independent, she will have a lot of support from her friends in the Green Party and she's sure to end up with a decent campaign machine behind her.
After two years of strained relations around Wellington City Council's table, Whanau was notably refreshing on announcing her candidacy.
She had flair and charisma, although that will only go so far. It's easy to identify problems like broken pipes, people feeling unsafe on the city's streets, and a lack of housing.
Coming up with a solution to fix them is more difficult. Whanau said her policy platform is set to be revealed in April.
But in the same breath, delivering what's already in the pipeline for Wellington is just as much of a campaign issue as new ideas are.
The draft district plan will pull the planning lever to allow higher density, but it's not going to magically create thousands more homes in itself.
The construction timeline for Let's Get Wellington Moving is too far away after years of waiting already.
Meanwhile, councillors have just agreed to slash the council's capex budget by $80 million this year because there aren't the resources or the material to do the work in the city's "white hot" construction market. The money will be redistributed over the life of the Long Term Plan instead.
Whanau will also find some advantage in being a fresh face.
Foster and Eagle have solid name recognition thanks to several years' experience of being on Wellington City Council.
In Foster's case, he has been there for longer than I've been alive.
But it comes with a catch because both have therefore overseen underinvestment in core infrastructure, been a part of what some have described as a "toxic council", and the years which led Wellington to the state it's in today.
This is sure to be an attack line during the campaign. Voting records on Wellington's biggest issues will be critical and Foster is more at risk of being tarred with this brush than Eagle.
There's no doubt about, if Eagle decides to run every other mayoral candidate will have their work cut out for them.
But nothing in politics is a foregone conclusion, especially considering 2019's cliffhanger election result that saw Foster snatch the mayoral chains from Lester with a majority of just 62 votes.
Senior Wellington journalist Georgina Campbell's fortnightly column looks closely at issues in the capital.